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From Evil to Elegant: 2022 in Iowa Hip-Hop

Rapper at microphone gestures upward with thumb.
Lucius Pham
/
IPR
During soundcheck at the 2022 80/35 Main Stage, B.Well kindly requests the volume get cranked up.

With a feature on Spotify's underground playlist The Skate Shop and a spot on Bandcamp's ten best hip-hop releases of September, The I & I - the third of three collaborative projects between Des Moines rapper Teller Bank$ and Indiana producer Ed Glorious - comes critically acclaimed. It's also IPR's pick for best Iowa Hip-hop album of 2022.

The underground came into the fore in 2022: a year dominated by Des Moines’ Teller Bank$, who dropped six (6!) total projects and brought with him offbeat, independent voices from the fringes like AshyMeat, Vin and producer Ponderosa Moe…even dusting off rapper Rent Money for a proper reintroduction. 2022 was also the year of declarative personal projects including, but not limited to, Juliano Dock’s Alias, TheZeffsterr’s 222: Read in-Between the Lines, FlyLife’s A Different View, B.Well's Elegance and That Honorroll KID’s PEACE GOD. Some brief, some long. It feels like a lot of elbowing in a crowded space. In other words, an exciting time to be in the game.

IPR's Lucius Pham breaks down the year in Iowa R&B and hip-hop, from Alyx to Zeff.

Teller Bank$ - Dead Man Walking

SONG OF THE YEAR

“Ride Wimme” - Teller Bank$, Ed Glorious off the album The I & I
A complimentary duet between Teller Bank$ and producer Ed Glorious. If you take nothing away from this year-end wrap up, at least remember this song and the tingle it gave you. That’s 2022.

Ride Wimme - Teller Bank$, Ed Glorious

ALBUMS OF 2022

Never Late Is Better - Gifo
Perfectly portioned. Come bounce along with Gifo.
HunnaMoreXanz - GnarlyJevy
Excellent tape. “Wavy” with Sqvce moves at hyperspeed.
Welcome To The Fre4kshow Vol. II: Life Of The Party -DJ FRE4K
Big party album. Hits a lot of different notes, huge showcase of Iowa talent.
Elegance - B.Well
B.Well’s junior effort is a steady, stylish album with class and strength. Not one but two Annie Kemble songs put this record well over-the-top.
Freakz Of The Industry - PettyAssPunkin
Bold. Sexy music for sexy people.
A Different View - FlyLife
Triumphant introduction to FlyLife, if you didn’t already know. Profiled here.
The I & I - Teller Bank$, Ed Glorious
Tremendous. Profiled here.
Alias - Juliano Dock
Polished. Whole lotta hits, including “Rounds” featuring Aree Love. Profiled here.
Skull Face : 777 - Teller Bank$
Real hip-hop. Any other year Skull Face : 777 might have easily been the album of the year. In fact, you could probably make the case for any of the five Skull Face albums published this year. 777 ’s appeal is its diversity of contributing producers and lighter grip than its more aggressive siblings. “Re-Rock” and “White Devil Mistress” prove Teller’s got a soft touch and “I Told That B*tch (prod. by Ponderosa Moe)”, “The Maharishi Menace (feat. Aakeem Eshu, prod. by Blaq Knight)” and “Rabbit Season” prove he doesn’t need to use it.
Rarity - Rare Doozy
Promising first album from Doozy. “Grimey Kids” and “Streetlights” kick similar midnight ass.
The Heartbroke Kid - AshyMeat
The inclusion of “Slowed + Reverbed” versions of every song add to this tape’s Mozart-level brilliance.
SKULL FACE : 666 - Teller Bank$
See Skull Face : 777 but dial the ‘Evil’ to 11. Self-produced by Teller, this record screams. That’s it, it just screams. “The Devil Lives in Des Moines,” “WAR,” “Stick!” and “Paarkfair” all send shivers.

Thank You - StenJoddi

SINGLES OF 2022

“Thank You” - StenJoddi
“Grimey Kids” - Rare Doozy (feat. Dirt Lxrd) off Rarity
"Complete the Mission" - FlyLife (feat. Sqvce) off A Different View
Last Call” - B.Well (feat. Annie Kemble) off Elegance
“Organic” - Gifo (feat. Psychedelic Sidekick) off Hell Bound
Gimme Life” - Alyx Rush, Jim Swim off Fruit to the Knife
"Coretta" - Imma
“Trick Or Treat” - L-Fazo
“Northwest” - Teller Bank$ (feat. AshyMeat) off Skull Face : 333
FTO” - MG Moeski (feat. BabyGreezy) off Life Of A Savage
“Neil Armstrong” - PettyAssPunkin off Freakz Of The Industry
“Back in my bag” - ’vante (feat. L-Fazo) off About last night ..
"Sean Don Flow" - TheZeffsterr off 222: Read in-Between the Lines

PYRAMID- L FAZO (Official Music Video)

ARTISTS TO WATCH IN 2023

1400slim & That Honorroll KID
This year, the pair dropped their second project, Phase 2, a follow-up to 2021's joint EP Phase 1, not to mention KID’s solo project PEACE GOD.
Dessy X
Her song “SNAKE” hits. Also check out her feature on Jandrobands’ track “Sneaky Link.”
SiFu the Sensei
Hometown Hero standout. “Kobe Me” with Psychedelic Sidekick and “Wasting Time” are terrific.

MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2022

"Ball Hog" - TCfrmhonorroll, shot by Imani Visuals
Beatom Park” - MG Moeski & Lil Terry, shot by @TroyBoyTheBeast
Cha Cha Sluts” - 1400slim, That Honorroll KID & GnarlyJevy, shot by Imani Visuals
Deadman Walking” - Teller Bank$, shot by Tobias Borg
"Feng Shui" - Countablessin, shot by @Traevfx
For The Hooligans” - FlyLife, shot by Hoodwill Gunting
"IN MY SLEEP" - Courter, Countablessin & TheZeffsterr, shot by @Traevfx
"It's You" - Riley Mobz, shot by Young Creatives
"No Coast" - PHON, shot by Christian Ellwood
"PYRAMID" - L-Fazo, shot by uda
Road Trip” - Johnny Marz (feat. Psychedelic Sidekick), shot by Kessel Kreations Media
smooth wit the rake” - Juliano Dock (feat. FlyLife, Ave Forgiato), shot by Camdbtv

Wavy ft. Sqvce ( PROD. SCIZZIE)

Lucius Pham is a writer and producer based in Des Moines, where he graduated with a bachelor’s of journalism & mass communication from Drake University. While there, he served as program director for KDRA-LP 94.1 “The Dog.”